Urban legends are mostly known to scare people with the background on how the legend even started and how will they hurt human beings (either physically or mentally). From Bloody Mary to Slender Man, we mostly know and recognize those urban legends at an instant. It’s no different when it comes to Japanese urban legends. Japanese urban legends are known throughout the world to have one of the creepiest legends such as Kuchi-sake Onna and Sadako.
However, how about some urban legends that are underrated for tons of people? The ones that not many people, even the Japanese would even hear about it. There are some urban legends that are completely shocking for many people because it was shown as harmless and adorable to the public.
So, I am going to teach you about the 10 Unknown Japanese Urban Legends that could make you sleep with the lights on and one eye open.
Japan’s most beloved “cat” is known throughout the world because of her cute and adorable personality. However, there has been an urban legend about how Hello Kitty was created, and it was for satanic purposes.
A Chinese woman had a 14-year old daughter that was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors said there’s nothing they could do to cure the daughter. Not ready to give up, she went to every church around the city to pray for the daughter’s recovery. She became so desperate that she became involved in satanic rituals and made a pact with Satan himself.
Satan will cure the daughter’s illness but with one condition: she would have to create any cartoon character that would appeal the children from around the world. He wanted to use the popularity of the character to trick people into worshipping Satan.
So when the daughter felt better, the mother kept her promise and created Hello Kitty.
The design goes like this: The reason that Hello Kitty doesn’t have a mouth is that the daughter has mouth cancer. Her ears represent Satan’s horns. “Kitty” means Demon in Chinese, so Hello Kitty literally means Hello Demon in Chinese.
In reality, Hello Kitty was actually created by a Japanese company named Sanrio, and it’s mostly designed to be a decoration on a purse.
The real reason Hello Kitty is mouthless is that they wanted her to have ambiguous emotions. Her blank expressions mean protection on one’s emotions on the cartoon and mimic the emotions one’s feeling. If someone’s happy, then Hello Kitty is happy. If they’re sad, then she’s sad.
The truth is Hello Kitty has NO association with satanic rituals or devil worship.
However, in 1999, a brutal murder of three Hong Kong men kidnapped a young woman and kept her captive in their apartment for a month. They tortured her, murdered her, and the reason it became the Hello Kitty Murder is that they stuffed her head inside of a Hello Kitty doll.
Peko-chan is a mascot of a Japanese milk company Fujiya which produces a candy called Milky.
She’s a young girl with chubby cheeks, pigtails and a red ribbon in her hair. She’s always smiling and licking her lips. However, the creation of Peko chan is not for the faint of heart. Rumors have it that Peko chan was modeled by a young Japanese girl (6 years old) who died during World War II.
During the war, there was an extremely low amount of food in Japan. Famine in Japan at that time was so bad that the mother and the girl have to drink muddy water just to stay alive and eat grass and the roots just to keep their hunger at bay.
Her mother doesn’t want Peko to suffer anymore, so she took a knife and cut a part of her arm to give Peko something to eat. Because Peko had never eaten anything outside of grass and roots, she never forgets the taste of her mother’s flesh. She killed the mother and eaten her entire body. She continued her life as a cannibal.
Rumors say that the reason she was licking her lips is that she would lick her mother’s blood off her cheeks. If you rearranged the words Milky, it becomes Kill Me, which was the last words the mother said before her death. It was the reason why the slogan said “Milky taste like Mama”. Fujiya has another mascot named Poco-chan, a young boy that always wears a blue hat and was said to be Peko’s boyfriend.
After killing her mother, Peko started attacking Poco and broke open his skull in order to eat his brains. He was so in pain that he was forced to commit suicide by biting his tongue and swallowing it. The reason that he was wearing a blue hat is to hide his broken skull and exposed brains.
A Japanese girl by the name Miko is a member of a Japanese online community named Mixi. She received a friend request from a member called “Yoshimuji-san”. Without hesitation, she accepted the request.
The next day, Yoshimuji-san sent Miko a message saying: “Miko is 21 years old, but not married?”
It was deemed rude and uncomfortable for Miko and explained to him that she’s still a college student so that’s the reason she’s not married.
After that message she sent, he immediately asked if she had a boyfriend, where she lives, and wants to know her real name.
Miko became upset and gave him the warning saying she’ll block him if he doesn’t stop asking her personal questions.
10 days later, Yoshimuji-san messaged her insisting her to change her profile picture and remove all her male friends from her friends' list. She finally blocked him and moved on with her life.
When she found his profile updates, she was shocked that he went to the same exact locations she was at. Miko became extremely uncomfortable, unblocked Yoshimuji, and asked how did he know where she’s going?
He explained that he’s always at her side because he saw every single update Miko posted including what is she doing there and who she’s with.
When she asked where is he located, he said he lived on the fifth floor, the same as Miko. When she finally asked where is he watching her from, he creepily answered: In your closet.
Inugami is an ancient Japanese curse that was banned in the Heian Period (794AD-1185AD).
It’s rumored there are still certain areas in Japan that the rituals are still practiced today!
WARNING: DO NOT (UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES) attempt to perform this ritual for any given reason! It’s extremely evil and shown terrible cruelty to animals. Animal cruelty is illegal (and morally wrong), and anyone hurting an animal should be reported to the police IMMEDIATELY!!!
The steps to create an Inugami:
- A live dog buried to the ground up to its neck
- Raw meat placed in front of the dog beyond his reach.
- Let the dog starved for several days
- Once the dog’s anguish and in rage, sever his head with a Japanese sword.
- The head will fly off and cling the food with its teeth.
- The head is buried at a crossroads where many people will walk over it. Thus increasing and intensified the dog’s grudge.
- The head is then dug up and burned in an oven until the remains are the skull. The skull is placed in a bowl and worshipped like a god.
The eternal rage will turn into a powerful curse. The person who created Inugami will be possessed and fulfilled their desires. However, it could also turn on them and bite them to death. Someone who’s been bitten by an Inugami will have bite marks on their corpse.
Inugami will possess people that are emotionally unstable. They will start to act strangely when bitten by an Inugami. They will experience pain in the chest, hands, and feet. Their shoulders will shake and would even bark like a dog.
Once you created an Inugami, you’ll never get rid of it! It will be kept in your family and pass down from generation to generation. Families who owned an Inugami were called Inugami-mochi.
Harionago is a Japanese ghost that appears as a form of a beautiful woman with extremely long hair. She has control over her hair and it snakes out like tentacles. The ends of her long hair are formed into hooks.
At night, she stalks the lonely roads and backstreets of Japan and only attacks on young men. When she spots a young man that she’s interested, she smiles at him. If the young men smile back, she’ll unleash her barbed hair and attack him.
The hooks would stick into the man’s clothes and flesh, trapping him in her clutches. He cannot move and she uses the hooks to cut him into pieces or tear him apart.
In many small villages in Japan, there have been numerous reports of an attack on young men by Harionago.
So, if you’re walking down a street at night and you see a strange woman smiling at you from the shadows, you may want to turn around or don’t smile at all.
If you smile easily,... can’t say I didn’t warn you...
Licca Chan is a very popular doll in Japan. Licca-chan is the Japanese version of a Barbie doll. It became so popular that the company that manufactured the dolls created a phone line to promote their product.
Kids were able to speak to Licca-chan, but rumors spread that some kids heard Licca-chan saying creepy things such as “I’m coming to your house to kill you.”
One day, a young girl was cleaning her room and found a Licca-chan doll she used to play when she was little. However, since she had gotten older and outgrown into it, she threw it in the trash can.
Sometime later, she and her family moved to a new city. When she arrived home from school, her parents were still at work. Suddenly, the phone rang.
When she picked it up, she heard a little voice saying “It’s Licca-chan. I’m on the rubbish dump. I was abandoned, but I’m coming home.”
Thinking it was a prank, the young girl hung up the phone. A little later, the phone rang again. The same voice said “This is Licca-chan. I am at the train station. Soon we’ll be together again.”
She started to feel uneasy. The phone rang and Licca-chan told the girl that she’s coming down the street and was wondering did she miss her?
The girl became terrified and was wondering when is her parents’ coming home. The phone rang again after a couple of minutes.
“Hello, this is Licca-chan. I’m outside your house. Please open the door!”
The girl was now extremely terrified and thought it had to be a joke. She went over to the window and peered to the curtains. There was nothing outside. She finally felt relieved that it was a prank.
However, the phone rang one last time. When she picked it up, she heard, “Hi! This is Licca-chan… I’m right behind you.”
Tonkaraton is an urban legend about a male ghost who is wrapped in bandages and carries a Japanese sword. He appears on a bicycle while singing, “Ton...Ton...tonkara...ton.”
According to the legend, he appears to people who are walking home in the evening after school. If you meet him, he will cycle up to you and suddenly tell you to say “Tonkaraton.”
If you say it, he’ll leave you alone and ride off, but if not, he’ll take his sword and slice you to pieces. If he kills you, he’ll wrap your whole body in bandages and you’ll become Tonkaraton too.
Just think of it as the male version of Kuchi-sake Onna.
You shouldn’t say Tonkaraton until he tells you to, or else he’ll kill you for saying his name without permission.
The only way to not encounter him is to have a bandage on your left hand. He’ll leave you alone since he considered you as a friend.
Some people might recognize this mansion since it’s a part of the popular video game Fatal Frame which is based on a true story. Many people tried to find the real location of Himuro Mansion but none ever come close.
Himuro Mansion is a large, traditional Japanese house that’s located in a rocky area on the outskirts of Tokyo. The mansion became iconic because it was the site of the worst mass murder in Japanese history.
The Himuro family rumored to have practiced ancient and forgotten Shinto rituals that had been outlawed in Japan. One of them is called “The Strangling Ritual”. The purpose of the ritual is to protect the family from bad karma, and it has been performed every 50 years. The family would select a random baby girl from within the family and raise her in secret. She would have to be isolated from there rest of the world.
When the time is right, the family dragged her out to a shrine in the courtyard and tied a rope around her neck, arms, and legs. A team of oxen would pull the ropes in different directions, tearing the girl’s body apart. The blood-stained ropes would then be placed over a portal in the mansion’s courtyard to seal the gateway.
If it was a success, the bad karma would be away for another half-century until it has to be repeated.
However, there was one situation that went wrong. The girl fell in love with a young boy she saw from the window of the mansion. It was a disaster since she had to be pure and free from worldly influences. Her blood and spirit were ruined and when she was sacrificed, the ritual failed miserably since she’s no longer pure.
Fearing that disaster would now befall the family, the head of the Himuro family went on an insane rampage throughout the mansion and brutally murdered the entire Himuro family by hacking them to death with a katana (a traditional Japanese sword). After killing every person in the mansion, he committed suicide.
The story of the Himuro Mansion was kept quiet for the neighboring village for decades. But weird happenings or inconceivable phenomenon has taken place on the property. From bloody handprints in the walls to ghostly apparitions been seen both at night and in broad daylight.
It is said that the ghost of the murdered family would repeat the failed ritual using whoever is daring (or idiotic enough) to enter the abandoned building.
People who entered the house are mostly found dead, while others have been found torn to pieces in the underground network of tunnels that lie beneath the mansion.
Finally, a certain window in the house has been the most infamous. The reason is if you take a picture of the window, a ghostly image of a young girl in a kimono will appear in the developed photograph.
If the legends are true, the Himuro Mansion will be known as one of the most haunted houses in Japan.
The Face Powder Hag (or Oshiroibaba) is a Japanese demon that tricks pretty young girls into using her special white face powder to “make them more beautiful.”
She had a wrinkled face that is caked with layers of white makeup since in traditional Japanese beauty, the whiter the face the more attractive a girl is.
She appears on cold nights, asking pretty young girls if they would like to try some of her special face powder to make them more beautiful. However, soon as the white powder touches their face, the girls experienced a burning sensation. Their skin starts to peel off and their flesh rot and fall from their faces, leaving nothing but a hideous skull. Oshiroibaba then steals the flesh and uses it for her own purposes.
A young woman started dating a handsome young man and thought everything was perfect. Then, one day, she became pregnant and her boyfriend broken up with him after he heard the news. Since her family and friends can’t help her out with the child, she has to deal with it on her own. For the next 9 months, she had to wear baggy clothes to hide her pregnancy. Instead of going to the hospital, she quietly gave birth to the baby at home.
The next morning she put the crying baby in the coin lockers at the central train station. She said she was sorry constantly before closing the door and left.
Over the next few years, she forgot about the incident and moved on with her life. However, one day, she passed through the central train station and noticed a small boy standing in front of the coin lockers. He was alone and weeping. The young women felt bad for him and went over to speak to him. When she tried to ask what’s wrong and if he’s lost, the boy didn’t answer and kept crying. When she asked where’s his mother, he stopped crying but his eyes burned with rage and shouted: “IT’S YOU!”
A few years later, workmen were renovating the train station. When they removed some coin lockers, they found something that’s really surprising, the skeletal remains of a young woman and a baby.
Those are the 10 Unknown Japanese Urban Legends. Hope you learned something new and not super scared to sleep at night! If you liked this article, you might also like our blog post about 10 Bizarre Things About Japan.
WARNING: Though this blog post is to educate people about Japanese urban legends, there are some legends that use methods to activate supernatural powers to harm you and/or other people. If there is an urban legend that has methods that you could physically do, DO NOT DO THEM UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! Jay Japan is not responsible for anyone that is hurt or killed or get arrested during these methods.
Also, don’t really take some of the stories personally. Some of them are mostly used to scare others and have exaggerating backgrounds to heighten the tension.